SASTA Oliphant Science Awards

Congratulations USC Year 11 student, Amber Washington who won a number of awards at the 2018 SASTA Oliphant Science Awards, South Australia’s largest science competition.

Amber receiving her award for best game.

Amber won 1st prize in the Year 11/12 Games category for her board game “Chem-Mystery” that invites chemistry students to play detective and solve a mystery using experiments.  The idea for this game came from a classroom activity in which students were given unmarked bottles of chemicals and told about tests that would identify the contents. “I enjoyed this investigation so much, I decided to employ the same principles in my game this year,” Amber said. “As well as including an old favourite experiment of mine, the Flame Test, to add another ‘element’ … and make the overall game more Chem-Mysterious.”

Other awards Amber won include

  • Photography
  • RACI – Chemical Education Group Prize R-12 (Awarded to the most outstanding entry with a chemistry theme)
  • Department for Education Young Scientist Award 8-12
  • 2017 Oliphant Medal

Amber (centre), pictured with USC Physics and Chemistry teachers Zahra Pirvali and Magda Van Aardt


The Oliphant Science Awards is an annually held competition for South Australian school students from Reception to Year 12 to develop their interest in science through a science-based competition with a range of categories to suit a wide variety of abilities and interests. Learning science encourages students to develop a range of skills such as observation, prediction, and communication as well as expanding their knowledge within and between the diverse domains of science. The Oliphant Science Awards provide students with an opportunity to expand their scientific literacy, by showing interest and understanding in the world around them and engaging in discussions about science.

The South Australian Science Teachers Association (SASTA) has conducted The Oliphant Science Awards every year since their inception in 1981, with Sir Mark Oliphant the patron of this competition named in his honour and running with his legacy. The Awards recognise the excellent work of students with prizes in each age group and category, along with Sponsor and school prizes for outstanding achievements.

Amber with her parents

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